Amid escalating tensions between South Korea and Japan, the South Korean government has called on Japan to ban any displaying of the Rising Sun flag at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This follows a statement by Japan's Olympics organising committee that it sees no problem with the flag. The committee said: "The Rising Sun flag is widely used in Japan and it is not considered to be a political statement, so it is not viewed as a prohibited item." A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "The Japanese know full well that their neighbours regard the Rising Sun flag as a symbol of Japan's militaristic and imperial past. Japan needs to be more humble about owning up to its historical legacy."
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Relations between the two east-Asian nations have taken a downturn in the past few months. They are currently embroiled in a bitter trade war that has seen people in Korea burning Japanese products. Many South Koreans are shunning Japan as a tourist destination, leading to Japanese carriers slashing the number of flights to South Korea. Last month, Japan removed South Korea from its "white list" of trusted trade partners. This led to delays in the exports of items like car parts and household electronics to South Korea. In retaliation, Koreans have been boycotting Japanese beer, clothing brands and other products. The spat poses a threat to the global supply chain of semi-conductors.